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Journey Into Everest’s Sacred Tibetan Realm

Tibet is a place of extraordinary beauty and rugged terrain, a land sometimes shrouded in mystery. In 2001, Estes Park resident Dale Vrabec was a member of an eight-person trekking party that descended the gorge of a river in Tibet, the Phung Chu, which drains the north faces of both legendary Mount Everest as well as Shishapangma, also an 8000-meter peak. The trek was historic: it was the first time that a group of Westerners would make this descent. In so doing, Vrabec and his party entered and traversed an area held to be sacred by local Tibetans and Nepalese. The locals believed that centuries ago, the area has been visited by the Indian sage Padmasambhava, when he introduced Buddhism to Tibet.

Dale Vrabec will show and narrate video footage of this expedition in a free program titled “Mount Everest’s Sacred Tibetan Realm.” The event is part of the Estes Valley Library’s “Our Wonderful World” series and takes place on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain Opry Theatre (Park Village Playhouse) located inside National Park Village at 900 Moraine Avenue.

From the road’s end at Kharta, Tibet, south to the Nepal border, the descent would take a full week on a faint infrequently used trail. The team then followed an ascent of the verdant Kama Valley, judged by the early 1920s British explorers of Mount Everest to be the most beautiful in all the Himalaya. Ascending a side drainage, the group visited a holy lake and the likely birthplace of famed Tenzing Norgay, a companion of Edmund Hillary on the first ascent of Everest in 1953. The 2001 group ultimately reached the snout of Kangshung Glacier, affording a view of possibly the most impressive aspect of the world’s highest peak.

Pictured on this page is the gateway to Beyul Khembalung, along with a view of the Thyangboche Monastery in Solukhumbu, home of the famous Sherpas.

After retiring from a career in both the aerospace industry and in solar astronomy, Dale Vrabec moved to Estes Park about 24 years ago with his wife, Sylvia. As far back as he can remember, Dale has been fascinated by the Himalaya. Starting with a gift to him of a treasured mountaineering book documenting the first British expedition through Tibet to Mount Everest, Dale has amassed a comprehensive collection of books on Nepal, Tibet, and Himalayan climbing expeditions, together with maps and other reference materials.


© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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